July 4, 2022
(Photo: Former Councillor Elaine Moore and current Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon)
It was a showdown of two political forces last Thursday morning in a Brampton Court. The issue before the courts was who should replace former Wards 7 and 8 Councillor Charmaine Williams on Brampton City Council.
Prior to the June provincial election, a Gang of Six Councillors (Pat Fortini, Martin Medeiros, Jeff Bowman, Doug Whillans, Gurpreet Dhillon and Charmaine Williams) pre-appointed controversial Elaine Moore to Council in the event Charmaine Williams was elected as an MPP. The Gang of Six Councillors quickly assembled a “Special Meeting” to coordinate the pre-appointment, thereby leaving limited opportunity for public input. Their pre-appointment strategy of Elaine Moore would ensure they would maintain their cabal on Council.
The Gang of Six consists of five Councillors who teamed up with Gurpreet Dhillon, even though they had asked him to immediately resign from Council earlier in the term. As report by the City’s Integrity Commissioner, Dhillon had engaged in sexual misconduct with a Brampton business woman when he was on city business.
Mayor Patrick Brown and four other Councillors (Harkirat Singh, Rowena Santos, Michael Palleschi and Paul Vicente) opposed the pre-appointment. They viewed the pre-appointment of Elaine Moore as a political move in a continued thirst for power by the Gang of Six.
With a power cabal controlling Council, the Gang of Six terminated many senior administrators, such as the Chief Administrative Officer, the Integrity Commissioner who reported on Dhillon, and City Lawyer who provided Council with legal advice. They even self-appointed Pat Fortini and Martin Medeiros as Deputy Mayors.
After the firing spree, and secretly behind closed doors, they selected their own employees to fill these key city positions. The cost of the “no cause” terminations has not been publicly reported.
The Judicial Decision
The pre-appointment of Elaine Moore is now before the courts.
Councillor Harkirat Singh received legal advice that the motion to pre-appoint Elaine Moore by the Gang of Six was in contravention of the Municipal Act. Upon receiving this information, and with due diligence, Councillor Singh filed an application to Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice in order to have the pre-appointment process reviewed and determined.
The Corporation for the City Brampton responded to Councillor Singh’s court application. It is unclear who gave direction to city staff in responding and opposing Councillor Singh’s application.
The city’s response was delivered by an external legal firm, who in turn, would have been retained by Diana Soos. It was the Gang of Six who fired the city lawyer who provided advice against the pre-appointment. Thereafter, they hired Diana Soos without any job competition.
The judge presiding over the case heard both legal arguments and recessed the court. The decision is expected this week.